MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Local hero Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) rode to a determined second-place finish in today’s Catalan Grand Prix after a long battle with compatriot Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) had a tough race, crossing the line in fourth place, just behind Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha).
Following a wet morning warm-up, Stoner started from pole, but it was the fast-away Pedrosa who shot through from the second row to lead into turn one. The Spaniard stayed there for the first half dozen laps, except for a split second on lap three when Ben Spies (Yamaha) came past, ran wide and slid off. Lorenzo, however, was soon shadowing Pedrosa and moved ahead on lap seven. For the next few minutes Pedrosa bided his time, then moved ahead once more at the start of lap 12. For a while it looked like he might have made the race his own, but Lorenzo fought back after running wide at turn one and was able to take Pedrosa when the Honda rider ran wide at turn ten with five laps to go.
Reigning World Champion Stoner was never quite able to get on terms with the leading pair. Fifth at the end of the first lap he moved into fourth a few laps later, but was unable to make further progress due to issues with chatter and a rear tyre that did not work the way he had hoped. He spent the rest of the race behind Dovizioso, closing right up on the Italian in the final couple of laps, but he was unable to find a way past. This was the Australian’s first race finish off the podium since he joined Honda for the 2011 MotoGP season.
Pedrosa and Stoner were the only factory riders to choose the hard compound Bridgestone rear for this race because during practice they found the medium tyre ran too hot. Their factory Yamaha and Ducati rivals all went for the medium rear.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) had a strong race from the third row of the grid, coming through to a sixth-place finish after completing the first lap in tenth place. This result was the same as he scored at Jerez and Estoril, but this was his best race so far on the Honda because he was closer to the front than before.
MotoGP Rookie Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) finished eighth following a brilliant showing in the early laps when he showed brilliant fighting spirit while battling with much more experienced rivals. From mid-distance the reigning Moto2 World Champion found himself all alone and he ended the race almost five seconds behind Valentino Rossi (Ducati).
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) enjoyed a great battle with several fellow CRT riders, eventually crossing the line in 14th for the third consecutive race. The Italian finished second best CRT, less than a second behind top CRT finisher Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia).
Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) won a thrilling Moto2 race, beating Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter) by a fraction of a second on the last lap. Third-place finisher Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) was in the leading group all the way until he had a moment with two laps remaining which then had him in collision with Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) who crashed out. Marquez was later given a one-minute penalty for the incident, which put him 23rd in the final result.
The leading trio were very evenly matched, with overtaking opportunities hard to find in this ultra-close, Honda-powered series. Iannone led for much of the way, Marquez occasionally managing to grab the lead, only for Iannone to immediately snatch it back. Luthi did not make such a good start and took several laps to get with the leaders. Espargaro joined the lead group at half-distance, but found it difficult to make passes once he was there.
With three laps to go Luthi passed Marquez into turn ten, Marquez then almost crashed mid-corner and ran wide. When he came back on line he collided with Espargaro who was trying to pass on the inside. Espargaro had a heavy fall, but escaped with bruising.
That left Iannone and Luthi out on their own, with Marquez out of the fight, but still a very safe third. Luthi got ahead with one lap to go, then it was Iannone again. On the final lap Luthi made another move at turn ten, passing the Italian, but he could not hold his line and ran wide, allowing Iannone back into the lead. The pair crossed the line separated by just 0.08s. Marquez finished a further 1.1s seconds back.
Luthi’s result – his fourth consecutive podium – moved him into the championship lead, 17 points in front of Espargaro and Iannone. Marquez is now fourth after no scores here and at Le Mans a fortnight ago.
Esteve Rabat (Pons 40 HP Tuenti – Kalex) won the contest for fourth, 11 seconds behind Marquez, and was then promoted to third following Marquez’s penalty.
Rabat was followed over the line by Simone Corsi (Came Ioda Racing Project – FTR), Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team-Kalex), Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP Suter) and Randy Krummenacher (GP Team Switzerland – Kalex).
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) scored a crushing victory in the Moto3 race, at one point more than ten seconds ahead of the pack disputing second place. During the final few hundred metres the brilliant Spanish teenager slowed to cruise over the finish line 7.7s ahead of second-placed Sandro Cortese (KTM).
Vinales, who started the race from pole, spent the early laps in the thick of the group disputing the lead, then at half distance he got his head down and made the break. While his rivals argued over the same piece of tarmac, Vinales made the best use of the clear road to rapidly build a winning advantage.
The contest for second was a real thriller, with up to eight riders swapping positions at every corner. Cortese crossed the line just 0.1s ahead of podium first-timer Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda), who was a fraction ahead of Le Mans winner Louis Rossi (Racing Team Germany – FTR Honda) who had led the early laps.
Just 0.593s separated second place from ninth place, with Honda riders showing well in the group. Alexis Masbou (Caretta Technology – Honda) was fifth, wild card (and younger brother of Marc) Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) sixth and Romano Fenati (Team Italian FMI – FTR- Honda) ninth after coming through from 17th on the first lap.
Vinales’ second victory of the year puts him second in the World Championship chase, seven points behind Cortese.
|1||Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|2||Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team)|
|3||Andrea Dovizioso (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|4||Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda Team)|
|5||Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|6||Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|7||Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team)|
|8||Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|9||Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team)|
|10||Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|11||Hector Barbera (Pramac Racing Team)|
|12||Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing)|
|13||Aleix Espargaro (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|14||Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|15||Randy De Puniet (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|1||Andrea Iannone (Speed Master)|
|2||Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock)|
|3||Esteve Rabat (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|4||Simone Corsi (Came Iodaracing Project)|
|5||Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|6||Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP)|
|7||Randy Krummenacher (GP Team Switzerland)|
|8||Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|9||Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|10||Johann Zarco (JIR Moto2)|
|11||Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing)|
|12||Claudio Corti (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|13||Alex De Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|14||Nicolas Terol (Mapfre Aspar Team)|
|15||Jordi Torres (Tech 3 Racing)|
|1||Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia)|
|2||Sandro Cortese (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|3||Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|4||Louis Rossi (Racing Team Germany)|
|5||Alexis Masbou (Caretta Technology)|
|6||Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|7||Hector Faubel (Bankia Aspar Team)|
|8||Zulfahmi Khairuddin (AirAsia-Sic-Ajo)|
|9||Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI)|
|10||Luis Salom (RW Racing GP)|
|11||Jakub Kornfeil (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|12||Niccolo` Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)|
|13||Alan Techer (Technomag-Cip-TSR)|
|14||Alberto Moncayo (Bankia Aspar Team)|
|15||Jack Miller (Caretta Technology)|